Cautley Spout

Howgill Fells / Yorkshire Dales National Park / near Sedbergh, Cumbria County, England

Rating: 2     Difficulty: 1
Cautley Spout from a distance

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Cautley Spout was said to possess the tallest cumulative height for a waterfall above ground in England at a reported 198m (30m Hardraw Force was said to have the tallest unbroken singular drop above ground in England). Surrounding the falls were the impressive mountains of the Howgill Fells, which further added to its scenic allure and ambience. Yet even with these aspects going for it, this waterfall didn't seem to get the kind of love we noticed most other waterfalls in the country tended to receive. Upon our visit, we didn't even notice much in the way of obvious signage pointing out the falls to a casual motorist that might be passing by, nor was there an obvious footpath leading to a closer and better view of it (unless you happened to be walking the public footpaths in the area coming from somewhere further away).

All of these things conspired to make visiting this waterfall more of an adventure than perhaps it ought to be. That said, I'd imagine for those in the know that this relative obscurity would be welcome since it would mean no crowds, you'd have to earn your experience with a fell walk, and it wouldn't cost a ridiculous amount for parking and/or trail access. Of course on the flip side, it would also mean that a lot of factors would have to go right in order to have a more successful visit than I was able to have (e.g. weather, preparation, timing, and more). And as you can see from the photos on this page, I wasn't able to get very far given the circumstances.

After going back-and-forth and backtracking on the A683 road, I finally found an unsigned pullout where we were able to stop the car (see directions below). Julie and Tahia opted to stay in the car given the strong winds and threatening weather. As I got out of the car and started walking along the road (there was no shoulder for pedestrians so I literally had to keep an eye out for cars that happened to be driving by), I was able to take the distant contextual photo of Cautley Spout that you see at the top of this page.

As I continued another 1/4-mile north towards the Low Haygarth property, that was when I saw there was a signposted public footpath that cut across the A683 road and onto the driveway of the property on the left. So I followed this path through the driveway and past a few gates before I would eventually get to a field where I would get as close as I would wind up being to the falls as I was stopped short by a fording of a stream that seemed to be running fairly deep. Given the weather, the time of the day (it was almost 6pm), and that Julie and Tahia were waiting back at the car, I decided not to continue further and be content with my distant views of the falls. Perhaps if I was better prepared, I might go the full distance and get a better experience with the falls, but only if I'm so fortunate to come back here.

In the end, this brief reconnaissance of the falls and its access took me about 40 minutes. It was still a decent waterfalling experience in that I got to see it and get a feel for the countryside scenery here, but I also felt like there was so much more that was left on the table.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Prior to visiting the Yorkshire Dales, we had spent some time in the charming former Viking town of York roughly 2 hours drive to the eastPrior to visiting the Yorkshire Dales, we had spent some time in the charming former Viking town of York roughly 2 hours drive to the east
An atmospheric and worthwhile attraction in the nearby town of Kendal (our base for visiting the Dales and the Lakes) was the Kendal Castle, which was both free and provided nice views of the townAn atmospheric and worthwhile attraction in the nearby town of Kendal (our base for visiting the Dales and the Lakes) was the Kendal Castle, which was both free and provided nice views of the town
A short distance to the west of Kendal was the town of Windermere, which was the quintessential Lakes District town for most visitors to that areaA short distance to the west of Kendal was the town of Windermere, which was the quintessential Lakes District town for most visitors to that area
The speed camera sign fronting the unsigned pullout that we stopped atThe speed camera sign fronting the unsigned pullout that we stopped at

View of Cautley Spout from the unsigned pulloutView of Cautley Spout from the unsigned pullout

Zoomed in look at the Cautley Spout from a distanceZoomed in look at the Cautley Spout from a distance

Having to walk along the A683 road, which doesn't have much room for pedestrians to walk alongHaving to walk along the A683 road, which doesn't have much room for pedestrians to walk along

Approaching the Low Haysgarth property along the A683Approaching the Low Haysgarth property along the A683

The entrance to the Low Haysgarth property where the public footpath crossed into towards Cautley SpoutThe entrance to the Low Haysgarth property where the public footpath crossed into towards Cautley Spout

Walking through the Low Haysgarth property to get closer to Cautley SpoutWalking through the Low Haysgarth property to get closer to the falls

Looking back at both the property next to the Green Dragon Inn along with the inn itself from the Simonstone FootpathLooking back at both the property next to the Green Dragon Inn along with the inn itself from the Simonstone Footpath

View of Cautley Spout from as close as I was able to getView of the falls from as close as I was able to get

Approaching a fairly deep ford of a beckApproaching a fairly deep ford of a beck

Upon closer inspection of the ford, I decided not to chance it and turned backUpon closer inspection of the ford, I decided not to chance it and turned back


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Distant 360 degree sweep starting with the waterfall then showing the surrounding farmland


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

Cautley Spout was about 15 miles east of Kendal, which was where we stayed (or 3.8 miles north of Sedbergh). We actually came from the north via Kirkby Stephen along the A683 after visiting High Force so we'll describe how we got to the pullout described above from Kirkby Stephen.

Heading south out of Kirkby Stephen on the Ash Fell Road (A685), we then turned left onto the A683 Road. We followed the A683 Road for about 7.6 miles where we ultimately stopped the car at an unsigned pullout shortly after a sign with a speed camera drawing on it. That speed camera sign was probably the only landmark that would tip us off to that pullout (which probably only had room for two or three cars).

Overall, the drive from High Force (by Forest-in-Teesdale) to Cautley Spout took us about an hour. On the other side, it took us about 40 minutes to drive from Cautley Spout to Kendal further to the west.

Finally, for some context, Kendal was 87 miles (over 2 hours drive) west of York, 73 miles (90 minutes drive) north of Manchester, 236 miles (4.5 hours drive) north of Bath, and 271 miles (over 5 hours drive or 3-4 hours by train) northwest of London.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES





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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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